Karen L. Manos is a partner in Gibson Dunn's Washington D.C. office and Chair of the firm's Government Contracts Practice Group.  Ms. Manos graduated in the top two percent of her class at the U.S. Air Force Academy (B.S., distinguished graduate, 1981), and graduated first in her class from the Duke University School of Law (J.D., with highest honors, 1986), where she was a Note Editor for the Duke Law Journal.  Ms. Manos has nearly thirty years' experience on a broad range of government contracts issues, including civil and criminal fraud investigations and litigation, complex claims preparation and litigation, bid protests, qui tam suits under the False Claims Act, defective pricing, cost allowability, the Cost Accounting Standards, and corporate compliance programs.   

Ms. Manos enjoys a nationwide reputation for her expertise in government contract costs and pricing.  Each year since 2006, Ms. Manos has been selected as one of the leading Government Contracts lawyers in the nation by Chambers USA America's Leading Business Lawyers, and one of only three lawyers "spotlighted" in the category, Government Contracts: Cost Disputes.  Chambers reported that: "Karen Manos is considered one of the top government contracting lawyers in the country, particularly in the area of cost disputes. Clients say: "She is very knowledgeable in terms of US government cost accounting. We can't find anybody who knows this stuff better than she does. She is extremely responsive, and quick to grasp issues and provide ideas." One peer remarked, "She is one of the most brilliant cost accounting lawyers I've met, and a great theoretician. She is a perfectionist, and she's very, very good at a very, very difficult area."  In 2004, Legal Times named Ms. Manos one of the top 12 government contracts lawyers in the Washington, DC area.  In 2009 and 2017, she was nominated by her peers as one of the world's leading practitioners in the field of public procurement and listed in The International Who's Who of Public Procurement Lawyers.  In 2010 and 2017, Ms. Manos was selected as one of 10 Washington, DC Super Lawyers in government contracts, and in 2011, Washingtonian Magazine named her a "Star of the Bar" for Government Contracts.  She was named one of the top five "MVPs" in government contracts law for 2012, awarded by Law360 to "attorneys whose achievements in major litigation or transactions have set a new standard for accomplishment in corporate law."  In 2015 Washingtonian Magazine named Ms. Manos as one of the "Top Lawyers" in Government Contracts.   

Ms. Manos is the author of two books:  the three-volume Government Contract Costs & Pricing (Thomson-West 2d ed. 2009), which is widely regarded as the definitive text in the area; and Government Contract Costs & Pricing Handbook (Thomson-West 2012).  In addition, Ms. Manos has authored almost fifty articles on government contract law.  Her publications have appeared in the ABA Public Contract Law Journal, the Catholic University Law Review, Federal Contracts Report, The Government Contractor, the Cost Pricing & Accounting Report, the Nash & Cibinic Report, the Government Contract Audit Report, the Iraq Reconstruction Report, and Purchasing Today.  She has also been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Business Journal, among other publications.   

Ms. Manos previously served as Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Public Contract Law, Chair of the National Defense Industrial Association Procurement Division, and  Editor-in-Chief of the Public Contract Law Journal.  She currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Government Contract Accounting, Cost & Pricing Report.

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association, Section of Public Contract Law: Chair (2009-2010), Chair-Elect (2008-2009), Vice-Chair (2007-2008), Secretary (2006-2007), Council Member (2003-2006), and Co-Chair of the Accounting, Cost & Pricing Committee (2000-2003).
  • National Defense Industrial Association: Chair, Procurement Policy Committee (2009-2011), Vice-Chair, Procurement Policy Committee (2007-2009); Chair, Contract Finance Committee (2004-2006).
  • National Contract Management Association:  Fellow, Certified Professional Contract Manager, and past President of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter.
  • Public Contract Law Journal Editor-in-Chief
  • Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report Editor-in-Chief
  • The Government Contractor Advisory Board Member
  • Federalist Society Member
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated



  • Government Contract Costs & Pricing Handbook (Thomson-West 2012)
  • Government Contract Costs & Pricing (Thomson - West 2d ed. 2009)


  • Karen L. Manos, "The New Uncompensated Overtime Rule," 10 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Rep. 13 (March 2015).
  • "Know Your Cost Regulations: The Precontract Cost Principle (FAR 31.205-32)," 8-6 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report 47 (Nov. 2013)
  • "Penalties for Unallowable Costs," 8-5 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report 38 (Sept. 2013)
  • "Records Retention, Untimely Audits and Cost Allowability," 8-1 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report 1 (Jan. 2013)
  • Karen L. Manos, Editorial: Federal Circuit Retrospective, 42-1 Pub. Con. L.J. vii (Fall 2012).
  • "The Contract Disputes Act Statute Of Limitations: Take Your Time, DOD," 6-6 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report 71 (November 2011).
  • "Special Allocations Under the Cost Accounting Standards," 6-5 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report 59 (September 2011).
  • "Know Your Cost Regulations: The Public Relations And Advertising Costs Principle (FAR 31.205-1)," 6-3 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report 27 (May 2011)
  • "Contractor Business System Audits: The Coming Train Wreck," 5-6 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report 1 (Nov. 2010).
  • "Complying With the New Mandatory Disclosure Rule," 4-1 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report 1 (Jan. 2009).
  • "Choice of Forum for Government Contract Disputes," 3-4 Cost, Pricing & Accounting Report 31 (July 2008).
  • "Does the APA Still Apply to Government Contractors?," 2-5 Costs, Pricing & Accounting Report 44 (Sep. 2007).
  • "Defining Increased Costs in the Aggregate," 2-2 Costs, Pricing & Accounting  Report 11 (March 2007).
  • "COFC Reconsiders CAS 413 Ruling," 49-9 Government Contractor, 95 (March 2007).
  • "Recovery of Interest Against the Government," 1-3 Costs, Pricing & Accounting Report  21 (Nov. 2006).
  • "Estoppel Against The Government: What Does "Affirmative Misconduct" Have To Do With It?," 1-1 Costs, Pricing & Accounting Report  1 (July 2006).
  • "Practitioner's Comment: Information Systems & Networks Corp.," Fed. Cir. Nos. 04-5151 & 5154, 48 Government Contractor  61 (2006).
  • "Postscript: Independent Research and Development Costs," 20 Nash & Cibinic Report  2 (Jan. 2006).
  • "Cherokee Nation: More Than Meets the Eye," 19 Nash & Cibinic Report  29 (June 2005).
  • "Estimates in Level of Effort Contracts: Wrong Contract Type, Wrong Breach," 19 Nash & Cibinic Report  23 (May 2005).
  • "Allowability of Legal Costs," 05-5 Briefing Papers (April 2005).
  • "Defining Cost or Pricing Data," 47 Government Contractor  192 (2005).
  • "Status of Contractors in Iraq: What Laws Apply?," Iraq Reconstruction Report (2004).
  • "FAR 31.205-18, Independent Research and Development and Bid and Proposal Costs," 03-12 Briefing Papers (Nov. 2003).
  • "Caveat Contractor: DCAA's New Audit Guidance on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Contractor Internal Controls," 80:19 Federal Contracts Report 543 (2003).
  • "The Proposed Rule on Cost Accounting Standards Administration – 'There You Go Again,'" 45 Government Contractor  302 (2003).
  • "DDP's Guidance Paper on Changes in Cost Accounting Practice," 44 Government Contractor  80 (2002).
  • "Practitioner's Comment: General Dynamics Corp., ASBCA 49372," 44 Government Contractor  249 (2002).
  • "The Federal Circuit's Decision in Boeing North American: Better, But Still Wrong," 44 Government Contractor  203 (2002).
  • "The Non-Appropriated Funds Doctrine: What Do You Mean We Can't Sue Them?" 6:7 Government Contract Audit Report (2001).
  • "A Critical Analysis of the FAR Council's New Rule on Labor Relations Costs and Costs Relating to Legal and Other Proceedings," 75:1 Federal Contracts Report (2001).
  • "Heads We Win, Tails You Lose: The CAS Board's Remarkable New Proposal on Accounting for the Costs of PRB Plans," 42 Government Contractor  420 (2000).
  • Co-Author, "Affirmative Action Plans & The "Equal Pay Initiative," 00-8 Briefing Papers (Aug. 2000).
  • Co-Author, "Pretrial Motions Under the False Claims Act," 29 Public Contract Law Journal 693 (2000).
  • Co-Author, "A Critical Analysis of the CAS Board's Proposed Rule on Changes to Cost Accounting Practices," 41 Government Contractor  402 (1999).
  • "Government Claims to Surplus Pension Assets," 48 Catholic University Law Review 1139 (1999).
  • "Post-Retirement Benefits: Much Ado About Funding," 4:5 Government Contract Audit Report (1999).
  • "The Statute of Frauds in Cyberspace," Purchasing Today (1999).
  • "Allowability of ESOP Interest Costs: DCAA's Misguided Audit Guidance, 98-6 Costs," Pricing & Accounting Report (1998).
  • "Legal: To Involve or Not to Involve," Purchasing Today (1998).
  • "Allowability of Executive Compensation Costs," 97-13 Briefing Papers (Dec. 1997).
  • Co-Author, "Executive Compensation: A Critical Examination of the Proposed Contract Costs Act of 1997," 97-3 Costs, Pricing & Accounting Report (1997).
  • "Novation Agreements in Corporate Restructuring: The Government's Contractual Stealth Weapon," 26 Public Contract Law Journal 339 (1997).
  • Co-Author, "Special Allocations Under the Cost Accounting Standards," 96-10 Costs, Pricing & Accounting Report (1996).
  • Co-Author, "Voluntary Accounting Changes Under CAS: A Windfall for the Government?" 25 Public Contract Law Journal 457 (1996).
  • "Protecting Proprietary Information," 94-13 Briefing Papers (Dec. 1994).
  • "The Antideficiency Act without an 'M' Account: Reasserting Constitutional Control," 23 Public Contract Law Journal 337 (1994).
  • "Recovery of Environmental Costs: A Government Perspective," 92-8 Costs, Pricing & Accounting Report (1992).
  • Co-Author, Within Cockpit Communications Patterns and Flight Crew Performance, NASA Technical Paper (1982), discussed in 16:11 Psychology Today 42 (1982).


  • Duke University - 1986 - Juris Doctor
  • U.S. Air Force Academy - 1981 - Bachelor of Science


  • District of Columbia Bar
  • North Carolina Bar

Recent Publications

March 30, 2007